Susperia are back and they have commandeered the vocal talents of Bernt ‘Dagon’ Fjellestad to help deliver this latest offering ‘The Lyricist’

The origins of Susperia date back to 1988 when the then drummer with Dimmu Borgir, Tjodalv, got together with his long-time friend, Cyrus, of ex Satyricon and Old Man’s Child fame, to write some tunes and share some ideas. Due to both being rooted and seasoned in the Norwegian black metal world, they steered Susperia to the more melodic spectrum of the extreme metal world, and this is evident tenfold in this latest release

It’s been 9 years since ‘Attitude’ in 2009, and this latest offering features members of the black metal elite, Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon and Old Man’s Child. The band have had a colourful history to date, even applying for Eurovision in 2011, but on a more serious note, they have toured with bands such as W.A.S.P, In Flames, Destruction and Dimmu Borgir, and somehow this seems to be translated and evident in this album. The album overall is a blackened mix of thrash and may be suited towards fans of giants such as Satyricon, Testament and Witchery.

The album kicks off with ‘Entered’ and is robust and mature in its deliverance. It sounds full bodied and it utilises two strains of vocal styles, harsh and extreme in one aural delight, and then it switches to more traditional power type vocals, which really pushes the boundaries of a tenor. Mid song it slows the pace and alleviates some of the brutality and then they pick up the pace after a short reprieve.

Next track up is ‘Heretic’ and the song well and truly kicks off without delay, with an uncompromising display of guttural roars which are intertwined with some more tenor vocals, this time however, they become more operatic in parts. The guitar work is tuney in parts and supplies a nice sturdy melody to the proceedings.

The title track then kicks into life, and like the rest of the album, doesn’t deviate from the recipe which the band have applied to the rest of the album. It is powerful and clinical in its approach and shows the skills of the band off to the max.

The album, as competent as it is, falls fowl of any divergence or variety, and becomes all a bit repetitive. The whole album moulds into one, rather than have any stand out tracks, and this may be due to the band finding a niche they are happy with, and extracting as much out of it as possible, or it may be that due to the 9 year album hiatus, it may take them some confidence to start pushing the boundaries a little.

The album is competent enough in its makeup and will give you a good old fashioned aural assault; it just needed more variety and fluctuations to make it more of an interesting prospect. For fans of Susperia, you will be more than satisfied with this release, for others, let’s hope you don’t want an album to be too eclectic.

(6/10 Phil Pountney)